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MOON OVER BUFFALO at Candlelight Music Theater

MOON OVER BUFFALO at Candlelight Music Theater
MOON OVER BUFFALO at Candlelight Music Theater

Candlelight’s MOON OVER BUFFALO is a wildly funny comedy from Tony Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig. Last year they staged his LEND ME A TENOR which included both parts as hilarious and charming. Ludwig’s plays feature Carol Burnett, Alec Baldwin, and Tony Shaloub, to name a few.

MOON has correlations with TENOR: a time period, a northeastern town, a male star who drinks heavily and courts women, a resentful wife, a novice director who perilously attempts to bring calm, doors slamming, actors coming out of the closet, a character being unconscious and MIA, and non-actors being forced on stage.

Question: “What else could go wrong”? Answer: “Everything”.

Candlelight continues to attract not only those just starting out in “the barn,” but also those with impressive credentials. Director Jennifer Bostock has directed and choreographed 75 shows in the region and is a lecturer in the arts department at Bryn Athyn College. Thanks to her for keeping the action going at a brisk pace. This is a very physical show with stunts, falls, and wide-eyed, moon-faced expressions. The talented cast is definitely up for the challenge.

The song from A CHORUS LINE, “What I Did For Love” comes to mind in regards to Candlelight culture. It is not possible for the cast and crew to receive the dollars that, for example, the Delaware Theater Company pays for the same positions with their equity contracts.

The parcel. B-level itinerant actors George and Charlotte star in the repertoire of “Cyrano” de Bergerac” and “Private Lives”, lead George (the formidable Steve Connor who has remarkable acting skills as well as impeccable comedic timing ) gets a call from Frank Capra with the prospect of the two replacing Ronald Colman and Greer Garson in his current film (Note to self: I keep telling people that the name “Greer” becomes AC/DC).

Charlotte (Heather Plank, who studied at the Lee Strasburg Theater Institute. Think Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, made her Candlelight debut), has grandiose dreams of being the next Greer Garson and others. She goes after George because he’s the reason she lost all her chances.

Ethel (Susan Giddings) has a hearing problem that leads to hysterical lines. As she dramatically left a scene left, I could only think of the classic exchange between Frau Blucher and Dr. Frankenstein in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN. Cloris asks Gene if he would like some wine before he retires. NO. She asks Gene if he wants some tea. NO. Cloris tries again. NO. I’M TIRED. This “moment” at Candlelight, the origin of the way Ethel walked out, which is reminiscent of Cloris Leachman.

Howard (William R. McHattie) is another “newbie” actor. Aisle Say means that in every way, but he looked and portrayed his character as if Pee Wee Herman were on stage. The open mouth, the wide eyes, the speech and his sense of meteorology – and everything else – were straight out of Pee Wee.

Aisle Say has seen Roz (Neena Boyle) in her previous 9 Candlelight productions. This is his greatest performance to showcase his comedic talent. The “Private Lives” scene with Roz waiting for the actor to come in comes to mind. Boyle’s “takes” and body movements reminded me of the naive, tone-deaf responses in the recent SNL classic of Ryan Gosling and Mikey Day as “Beavis and Butthead.”

Boyle’s English accent, accompanied by recent Barney Award winner and triple threat actor/singer/dancer Paul (Jared Calhoun), was impeccable. Jared has proven himself over the course of his previous 14 shows. THE expert in physical comedy.

Aisle Say was served a pyramid mountain of garlic mashed potatoes by Jared, the affable waiter at our table. Thanks to Aisle Say’s suggestion in his latest food review, chef David Ramirez added 5% more garlic. Quite pleasant to the palette.

Photos by Tisa Della-Volpe

Next stop: LES FANTASTIKS – July 13 – August 25

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